Category Archives: Puppies

3 Common Puppy Behaviors and What They Mean


You’ve got a new puppy, which probably means you’ve also got quite a few questions about your furry housemate. Some of your pup’s behaviors can be mystifying. Like, why is the puppy sleeping so much? Why does she nip me every time I try to pet her? The following list will help you decode some of your new puppy’s perplexing behaviors.

1. Deep Sleeping

You might notice that your puppy has two speeds: either full-tilt or deep sleep. Sometimes, the deep sleep is so deep, and goes on for so long that it’s a bit unsettling. Is a constantly napping puppy okay?

If you’ve taken your pup to the vet and gotten a clean bill of health, you shouldn’t worry about your champion day-sleeper. Growing pups need a great deal of time to rest their brains and bodies—well over fifteen to eighteen hours per day—so your pup’s drive to nap is a perfectly normal part of development. Let your sleeping pup lie, preferably in her crate, and enjoy the solitude while you can.

2. Energy Bursts

Many pet parents are caught off guard the first time their puppy gets a burst of energy and zips from room to room like a wild animal. This silly behavior is known as a “FRAP” or frenetic random activity period, and it is an adorable and very normal part of puppyhood.

FRAPs typically happen in the late afternoon, and usually include a combination of crazed running, drive-by nipping, rolling, and leaping. There’s no need to intervene in your pup’s FRAP unless she’s causing damage or is in danger of hurting herself. If your puppy’s FRAPs are particularly intense, consider redirecting her before she starts running with a bone or toy in her mouth.

3. Nipping During Petting

Puppies love to be petted, but there’s a misunderstood period that often occurs during the teething phase, typically around sixteen and eighteen weeks of age, when many pups opt to nip their humans any time they reach out for a pet or snuggle. This type of reaction can be physically and emotionally painful, because the nippy reaction hurts, plus it seems like the pup no longer enjoys your touch.

Barring any undiagnosed medical or behavioral problems, this is a normal developmental hiccup that’s fleeting if you approach it the right way. Your pup might be too revved up after a vigorous game to enjoy petting and might respond by nipping you, so instead of pushing for physical contact, take a break and redirect her to an appropriate chewing outlet.

Diana Ruth Davidson, Chief Pet Officer and Managing Nanny, Westside Dog Nanny,             Certified Professional Pet Sitter,                            Certified by American Red Cross in Pet First Aid and CPR

We offer:  Pet Sitting,  In-Home Dog Boarding, Dog Walking, Overnights in Your Home, Doggie Day Care.
310 919 9372

5 Facts You Didn’t Know About Newborn Puppies


The first few days of a puppy’s life may not be action-packed (it’s a whole lot of sleeping, eating, and pooping, as is the case with most newborns). But there are some things new pet parents should know to ensure their pups grow into healthy and happy dogs.

1. They Develop over a Short Period of Time

Puppies develop and grow inside their mother’s womb for approximately two months. This is the normal gestation period (or length of pregnancy) for dogs. In the sense of development, “a newborn puppy is not unlike a premature child.

At birth, puppies are unable to regulate body temperature, or even urinate or defecate on their own. Puppies depend on their mother and littermates for warmth, huddling in cozy piles to conserve body temperature.

2. They Double Their Weight in a Week

3. They Can’t See or Hear, but They Can Make Noise

Puppies can’t see or hear for the first two weeks of their lives, but they can make puppy noises. “They’ll vocalize right from the beginning. When they are born, the mom will lick the placenta off to stimulate them.

At around 10 days, they’ll start to open their eyes, even though they aren’t fully formed yet. All puppies are born with a blue-gray color to their eyes, their “true” eye color will be evident at around 10 weeks. Most newborn puppies can hear a little bit when they are born. However, their ears are still closed until about 14 days of age.

4. They Sleep and Eat a Lot

Newborn puppies eat every two hours. Even without vision, puppies use their reflexes and instincts to find their mother’s nipple to nurse.

In between feedings, they sleep about 90 percent of the day, or 22 hours.

5. They’re Born with Fur and Nails but No Teeth

Puppies have sharp little nails when they are born. It’s typically best to wait until 4 to 6 weeks of age to clip their nails, but this can be done sooner if they are hurting the mother. They are also born with hair and fur, but the amount depends on the breed. When they’re born, they have a puppy coat.

As they grow over their first year, dogs that shed will shed out their puppy coats and grow their adult coat. Their teeth start coming in at around 4 weeks old. Between 3 and 4 months old, they begin to lose their baby teeth to make way for their adult teeth.

Diana Ruth Davidson, Chief Pet Officer and Managing Nanny, Westside Dog Nanny,             Certified Professional Pet Sitter,                            Certified by American Red Cross in Pet First Aid and CPR

We offer pet services such as:  Pet Sitting,  In-Home Dog Boarding, Dog Walking, Overnights in Your Home, Doggie Day Care.
310 919 9372

Common Puppy Illness

 6 Common Illnesses to Watch for in Puppies

Your puppy is brand new and you want to protect him. The best thing you can do is to feed him a healthy, balanced diet, says Dr. Jim Dobies, a veterinarian with South Point Pet Hospital in Charlotte, N.C., and a member of the North Carolina Veterinary Medical Association.

“If you do, you’re giving your puppy’s immune system the best chance to fight off infection, he says. “He is in better shape to fight off illness and recover.”

But you can’t protect your baby pooch from everything. Here are six common illnesses he could catch in his first year of life.

1. Parvovirus (Parvo)

This highly contagious canine illness attacks puppies aged between 12 weeks and up to 3 years. Transmitted through bodily secretions and unvaccinated dogs, canine parvovirus is easily passed on, though most dogs are vaccinated against it starting at six to eight weeks, then again every three weeks until they are four months old (or until your veterinarian recommends).

Symptoms: A CPV infection (parvo) in dogs starts with a fever, and at this point puppies are probably very contagious (to other dogs, not humans). “After a few days, they will experience vomiting and bloody diarrhea and become dehydrated and weak,” says Dr. Dobies.

Treatment: Vaccinate against parvovirus! If you haven’t, hospitalization is the best route, where your puppy will be given IV fluids and sometimes antibiotics to prevent sepsis, which can be fatal.

Recovery time: Three to seven days. Puppies with parvo are usually hospitalized for three to four days then go home with medications.

2. Distemper

The vaccination against canine distemper virus is quite effective. The first vaccination takes place at six to eight weeks, and again after 9 weeks, “and when puppies have had one or two vaccines they are immune,” says Dr. Dobies. Consult your veterinarian for the best course of action for your dog concerning the distemper vaccine.

Symptoms: “This can really be an ugly disease,” he says. It shows in two ways: Initially distemper in dogs typically appears as an upper respiratory disease with sneezing and eye discharge. Then it can develop into pneumonia or can lead to neurological problems such as a fatal encephalopathy (brain damage).

Distemper in dogs is frequently misdiagnosed because owners think their puppy has a cold “so by the time we see them they have tons of discharge from their nose and eyes and have high fever. They are also depressed,” Dr. Dobies says.

Treatment: Seek medical attention for distemper in dogs. This usually involves inpatient supportive care.

Recovery time: It can take weeks to recover from canine distemper and pets usually go home from the hospital with respiratory medications.

The bad news about canine distemper is if your puppy survives it, the disease can lie dormant and break out again when she’s older. At that point she has an even worse

Diana Ruth Davidson, Chief Pet Officer and Managing Nanny, Westside Dog Nanny

We offer pet services such as:  Pet Sitting,  In-Home Dog Boarding, Dog Walking, Overnights in Your Home, Doggie Day Care.
310 919 9372

Puppy Diet – Dog Diet

 You waited until your puppy was at least 8 weeks old before you brought her home. You have plenty of toys and treats. She never misses a veterinary appointment and has been fed the proper puppy diet. Now, the question is, when do you begin switching to adult dog food?

Growing puppies should only be fed a high quality growth-type diet. But the amount of food the puppy eats is also important. Pups should not be able to eat at will, so don’t keep his bowl filled all the time. Overeating as the puppy grows can lead to devastating skeletal and nutritional disorders, as well as obesity. Also, supplementing his diet with vitamins and minerals can cause serious illness and should only be done on the advice of your veterinarian.

For most breeds, offer food twice a day for 20 minutes. If your puppy does not eat in that 20 minutes, remove the food and wait to feed the evening meal. Your puppy will quickly learn that food is not always available and he will eat when it is offered. For toy breeds, food should be offered three times a day. This feeding schedule can continue throughout the pup’s life. If you prefer free-choice feeding, wait until the pet is at least 12 months of age. For giant breed dogs, wait until about 18 months of age.

Once you have chosen a good quality puppy food, continue feeding this diet until your dog reaches 80 to 90 percent of his anticipated adult weight. For most dogs, this occurs around 9 months of age.

Giant breed dogs pose a special problem. These breeds are prone to skeletal problems if not fed properly during their growing phase. There are now special diets for giant breed puppies. For optimal health, feed your giant breed pup this special diet until he is 12 to 18 months of age.

Once your puppy has reached the age for a diet change, gradually begin changing his diet by feeding ¼ adult food and ¾ puppy food for a few days. Then add ½ adult food and ½ puppy food. After a few more days, feed ¾ adult food and ¼ puppy food. Then, you can feed straight adult food.

If you have any concerns about changing your puppy’s diet, consult your veterinarian for advice.

Diana Ruth Davidson, Chief Pet Officer and Managing Nanny, Westside Dog Nanny

We offer pet services such as:  Pet Sitting,  In-Home Dog Boarding, Dog Walking, Overnights in your home, Doggie Day Care.
310 919 9372

Dog Intelligence

Everyone’s always trying to determine how smart everyone else is. How smart are you? How smart are your children? How smart are animals? Is a dog smarter than a cat? And now, how smart is your puppy? And the answer is never simple. First, what kind of smarts are people talking about? There are now thought to be at least 7 different types of intelligence in humans: linguistic, logical, spatial, musical, kinesthetic, interpersonal, and intrapersonal.

Attempts to measure intelligence are always thwarted by the test itself and its biological appropriateness to the species under test. If you design a test to measure intelligence, like escaping from an enclosure, how well an animal performs depends on certain physical characteristics like possessing dexterous paws or flexible limbs.

If the test relies on observation, those animals most well equipped visually will score highest [a hawk could read a newspaper at 25 yards, if only it could read]. And we shouldn’t be too cocky about our own intellectual powers. Dogs’ reading of body language and identification and interpretation of odors leaves us in the dust. We have superior language skills (linguistic intelligence) but dogs are better at understanding the tacit communication of body language. So who’s the overall winner in the communication department?

To rate intelligence between dogs is a fairer task than to compare intelligence between species. The task, however, is still one beset with intrinsic difficulties similar to those found when designing and conducting human-human comparative intelligence tests. How well we fare on IQ tests depends on our background, experiences, and training. How well a pup fares on a puppy IQ test depends on its experience and training, its physical and emotional capabilities, and on the test itself. To say that everyone’s a winner may sound a bit trite, in light of what I have just said, it’s not to far from the mark. Yet people still push for the answer. Who’s smart and who’s not. Well, for these few perseverant people, let’s look at the situation from a more empirical perspective. For people, there seems to be such a thing as raw intelligence: the ability to think one’s way out of a paper bag, so to speak – no prior experience, no lessons. The same may well be true in dogs.

When assessing the intelligence of pups, one has to bear in mind that intelligence in youngsters can be something of a moving target. Nerve cells in pups’ brains are not fully developed until 4 weeks of age and visual centers are not up to speed until 7-8 weeks of age. Some senses are not fully developed until some time between 4 and 8 weeks and adult coordination may not be attained until the juvenile period is reached.

These fundamentals influence the ability of the pup to learn and respond, making estimation of intelligence far from cut and dried. Pups that are properly stimulated during the early weeks of life develop faster and better. They become better problem solvers and thus appear (or actually are) more intelligent than their under-stimulated peers. So, to some extent, intelligence can be molded, and how well molded it has become depends on the age when you test the puppies. Any time before 8-weeks of age may be too young to tell how smart the pup will eventually be.

Testing between 8-weeks and 6-months will be limited by the pup’s physical ability. Remember, full muscular coordination is not present until about 6-months. If you were to compare a 4-month old pup with an adult using Frisbee catching as a test, the adult would be more likely to emerge superior. Puppies are all very smart at things that they need to do to survive.

Early in life, all a pup has to do is locate mom’s milk bar and find a warm place to sleep. At these tasks, it excels. As time passes, pups become learning sponges, soaking up all kinds of extraneous information for later use. At this stage they are like a computer that is downloading information and may not perform well on tests that involve motor responses (but how else do you test a pup’s intelligence?). But in time, after the full package has been downloaded, the pup is primed with requisite information, and is at least semi-capable of coordinating an appropriate response. At this time, intelligence testing and comparison of peers may be somewhat valid.

Puppy IQ Test

The puppy must be at least 12 weeks old and must have been in the home with its new owners for at least 4 weeks.

What you will need:

  • Flat collar on your dog
  • Training lead
  • Treats
  • Small can or bowl (like an empty coffee can or some other Container)
  • Towel, sheet or some fabric that can completely cover your puppy
  • Two light cardboard boxes, a sheet of cardboard, and two appropriately sized, light weights
  • Scissors to cut hole in cardboard

Test 1 – Observation Learning

Choose an activity that your puppy has seen you do before many times and that it enjoys e.g. going out for a short walk in the yard or ride in the car, getting dinner ready, or preparing for a clicker training session. Engage in the behavior in five stages, scoring 5 points for your puppy’s immediate understanding of your intentions (you take one step toward the door and it approaches you and looks enthusiastic or runs to an appropriate place, signaling its understanding). Score 0 for paying no attention at all while you complete the entire maneuver. Intermediate scores 1-4 are awarded for intermediate responses.

Test 2 – Problem Solving

Take an empty can and your puppy’s favorite food treat. Show your puppy the treat and then put the treat under the inverted can. Score the puppy’s attempts to obtain the food on a similar 0 to 5 scale. A score of 5 is awarded if the puppy obtains the food treat by knocking the can over and getting the treat within 15 seconds; score the pup 4 for obtaining the food treat within 15-30 seconds; score 3 for completing the task in 30-45 seconds, score 2 for a time of 45-60 seconds, score 1 for eventually getting the treat; score 0 for the pup giving up, losing interest, and walking off defeated.

Test 3 – Problem Solving

Throw a tea towel or the corner of a sheet over the pup so it is completely covered and observe its attempts to think its way out of the situation. Use the same scoring method as in Test 2 above.

Test 4 – Social Learning

Wait until your puppy is near you but is not engaged in any particular activity. Look directly into its eyes and smile. Hold this pose. If the pup comes towards you, this is an excellent result indicating good social learning: score 5. If the pup ignores you, score 0. Intermediate scores are assessed, as before, on a timed basis.

Test 5 – Short Term Memory

Show the pup a delicious food treat and allow him to watch you hide it under a tea towel. Then lift him up in your arms and walk around the room in a large circle before depositing him at least 6 feet from where the food is hidden. If he immediately goes to the food treat and finds it, score 5. If he shows no interest in the treat and doesn’t look for it, score him 0. Intermediate scores are awarded for his finding the treat within 30 seconds, 1 minute, 1-1/2 minutes, and 2 minutes.

Diana Ruth Davidson, Chief Pet Officer and Managing Nanny, Westside Dog Nanny

We offer pet services such as:  Pet Sitting,  In-Home Dog Boarding, Dog Walking, Overnights in your home, Doggie Day Care.
310 919 9372

How to Prevent Common Puppy Behavior Problems

While most new puppy owners are very good at supplying their pup with all the good things in life, such as petting, cuddling, kissing, and treats, many are often not so naturally inclined to provide the guidance and leadership that the young puppy needs.

Call it training, if you will, it is an essential component of raising a well-mannered and well-behaved dog. Sure, there are times when you can let the youngster have free reign; times when the two of you can cavort around in blissful silliness and indulgence. That’s half the fun of owning a new puppy, right? But the other side of the coin of happiness is setting limits of acceptable behavior so that the new puppy does not spiral out of control. Good puppies turn into good dogs, and puppies and dogs need us to be their leaders as well as their friends. Dogs need strong leaders.

Typical puppy problems include unacceptable behaviors such as destructive chewing, biting, or nipping, jumping up, and excessive barking. How should the hapless owner deal with such problems? The answer to this problem is universally applicable to all the behaviors described and, though simple, seems to be a hard one for some owners to grasp. It is that you should reward behaviors that you find acceptable or pleasing and ignore or redirect behaviors that you find unacceptable or annoying.

Destructive Chewing

First of all, understand that chewing is a normal behavior for young pups and may become quite intense around teething time in the 5 to 9 month age group. As such, it is extremely important for new puppy owners to provide their new pup something to chew upon.

A plethora of chew toys is available in most pet stores and these should be brought home and freely distributed for your dog’s chewing pleasure. If your puppy starts to chew on an unacceptable item, such as a chair leg or electric cord, issue a curt command, such as Out! and physically redirect it onto an acceptable item to chew (one of its chew toys).

It is appropriate to render certain items unavailable or aversive but the main thrust of your training is to teach the pup what is acceptable for it to chew. An inappropriate response to finding your pup engaged in destructive chewing and, unfortunately, one still recommended by some trainers, is to physically punish the dog for chewing what it should not.

Punishment teaches a dog nothing except how to avoid punishment. If you punish a dog for destructive chewing, it will simply chew it when you’re not around. It will learn that you are the source of punishment and will avoid punishment by avoiding chewing in front of you. Hardly an ideal solution.

Biting and Nipping

This is the problem that (excuse the pun) should be nipped in the bud. While it is okay to allow a young pup to mouth and nip fingers and hands, there comes a time when it must be taught bite inhibition. This is usually taught at around 4 or 5 months of age. The moment the puppy’s needle sharp teeth start to cause you, the owner, any discomfort or pain, immediately explain Ouch!, and withdraw your hand. That’s the end of the game and the end of the entertainment.

The puppy will soon learn that humans are soft and ouchy and only minimal pressure is necessary if they wish to discourage an unwanted intervention. The big mistake that owners make is writing off all puppy nipping as “normal puppy behavior” and failing to take any steps to curtail it until it is too late. If a young puppy is too aloof to play by mouthing encourage it to do so that you might teach it bite inhibition. It will pay off in the long run.

Another cardinal mistake owners make is to scream and flail when their new puppy nips too hard. This conveys to the puppy that you can be like a huge squeaky toy, the most entertaining thing in an otherwise dull life; so it may nip you simply for the pleasure of witnessing your response.

Another inappropriate way of dealing with nipping is by physical punishment (e.g. by slapping or hitting the pup) because this will ruin your relationship with it and may inflict damage. And, yes, there is such a thing as the shaken puppy syndrome.

Jumping Puppy

Here’s another all-too-common puppy behavior problem that is often dealt with inappropriately by owners. The first thing they fail to appreciate is that dogs only jump up because they are rewarded in some way by so doing. It may not be the owners themselves but their guests who lean down and pet the pup, giving it their attention in response to being jumped upon. This will ensure that jumping up continues.

If an owner wants an adult dog that will not jump up on them or their visitors, they should simply instruct all who meet the pup to “turn into a tree” or “turn to stone” or to simply walk away. If jumping up is not rewarded it will not be propagated.

If a dog is already jumping up because it has been rewarded for doing so and attention is suddenly withdrawn, the behavior will get worse for a few days before it gets better. This exacerbation is referred to as an extinction burst. Many owners don’t know this and so they give up too soon. It may take days or weeks for the behavior to fully extinguish.

Some puppy owners, in desperation, turn to the wrong type of dog trainer for advice on how to correct the jumping problem. Owners are taught to knee the dog in the chest, cup it under the chin, or stand on its back paws as a way of eliminating the behavior. These physical punishments are rude and wrong and, while they might produce the goods on occasion, are uncalled for and compromise your relationship with your dog. A more acceptable technique is to hold the pup by both paws and remove them from your person but do not let go until it is clear the dog is keen to be released. This is a form of negative reinforcement and the pup will increase the frequency with which it greets you with four feet on the floor in order to avoid a negative consequence of you holding onto its paws.

While an owner may ignore or negatively reinforce jumping up behavior, there is one other component of training this behavior that is frequently overlooked. That is, rewarding the behavior that you want. You should always reward your pup with praise, petting, and your attention, for greeting you with four feet on the floor. And reward it for getting four feet back on the floor after a bout of jumping. Timely reward is important if non-jumping behavior is to be maintained.

The bottom line: ignore the behavior you don’t want (jumping) and reward the behavior you do want (four feet on the floor). It’s as simple as that. If you want to add a word cue or command, the one to use is Off! Do not tell a dog that is jumping on you Down! as this is a different behavior and the utterance of this word on this occasion will simply confuse the dog. Using a non-specific word, like no, or the wrong word, like down, are common mistakes that owners make when trying to retrain a jumping dog.

Diana Ruth Davidson, Chief Pet Officer and Managing Nanny, Westside Dog Nanny

We offer pet services such as:  Pet Sitting,  In-Home Dog Boarding, Dog Walking, Overnights in your home, Doggie Day Care.
310 919 9372

How to Potty Train a Puppy

It is normal for puppies to have “accidents.” In fact, soiling accidents are unavoidable in the early days of potty training, even if you keep a constant eye on your puppy. The chances are that several soiling accidents will occur inside your home before your puppy gets a handle on controlling his bodily functions. What’s most important is that you learn how to handle these situations correctly, since improper disciplinary actions can result in bad habits.

It is common for first-time puppy owners to make mistakes in handling accidents, but you must take into consideration that puppies are not like human beings. Puppies do not have the capacity of linking the long-term nature of cause and effect. It is futile to punish a puppy for an incident that occurred hours, or even a few minutes ago. Doing this will only confuse and frighten the puppy, which can place a strain on the bond that you are trying to create with your puppy. This is why trainers advise owners to keep their puppies crated until they have been trained to wait until they are taken outside to relieve themselves.

Acting Without Overreacting/Potty Training a Puppy

Punishments should always be within reason and should not be severe, no matter how messy the accident was. It is also not wise to follow advice regarding extreme but effective punishments. While harsh punishments may work with some dogs, they sometimes border on the absurd and inhumane. Examples of these so-called “effective punishments” are rubbing the nose of the puppy into his “mess,” beating the puppy, or locking the puppy up in a dark, enclosed space. These kinds of punishments are simply acts of cruelty; they are not the right way to raise a puppy. Your puppy will grow up fearing and mistrusting you.

An appropriate reprimand must be given to the puppy as soon as you see that the puppy is eliminating inside the house or is about to. Stop the puppy from eliminating by reprimanding him in a firm and loud voice. A quick “No!” or “Stop!” should do the trick.

Another effective way to stop him would be to startle him with a loud noise, causing him to immediately stop what he is doing. You might also take hold of the scruff of his neck and give him a quick shake, causing him to stop what he is doing and turn his attention to you. In all of these instances, follow by taking him outside immediately so he can finish eliminating and reward him with positive reinforcement once he is done. Whether you use verbal praise, petting, or a training treat, you want your puppy to associate going outside to eliminate with good responses form you.

To avoid accidents, you must always keep an eye on your puppy. Always be on the lookout for signs that your puppy is about to eliminate. These signs include sniffing at the floor, scratching at the door, whining, or looking uncomfortable.

Whenever an accident does happen, and it will happen, do not blame the puppy immediately. Remember, that it is your responsibility to keep a constant eye on the puppy, and when you cannot do this you will need to place the puppy in his crate. Before you begin cleaning the mess, make sure that the puppy is not in the room so that he cannot see you cleaning the mess. This may cause him to associate soiling on the floor with your willingness to clean it, giving him no incentive to discontinue the behavior.

Getting Rid of the Evidence

Cleaning up thoroughly after an accident is very important because a puppy has a very keen sense of smell and will return to the spot where he previously eliminated unless all of the scent is removed. Using common cleaning products like soap or detergent powder simply is not enough. To completely eliminate the smell, it is best to use chemical cleaning products and a specially formulated odor eliminator. If you did not buy a pet formulated odor eliminator before bringing the puppy home, now would be a good time to get one. After you have cleaned, keep the puppy away from the newly cleaned area so that he does not ingest or come into contact with the chemical cleaning products.  Success with housebreaking a puppy!

Diana Ruth Davidson, Chief Pet Officer and Managing Nanny, Westside Dog Nanny

We offer pet services such as:  Pet Sitting,  In-Home Dog Boarding, Dog Walking, Overnights in your home, Doggie Day Care.
310 919 9372

When is a Dog Considered Senior?

Pets age much faster than we do. The life span of a dog depends on its size or breed. In general, the larger the breed or size of the dog, the shorter the life span. For example, in a study of lifespans, only 13% of giant breed dogs lived to be over 10 years old. Conversely, 38% of small breed dogs live to be over 10 years of age.

Dogs are considered senior in the last 25% of their lives. Below is a list of the most common breeds with their life expectancies and age at which they are considered “senior”.

When your dog is senior, make sure they have a senior check-up with your veterinarian.

Breed Lifespan Senior Years
Affenpinscher 12 – 15 years 9 – 11 years
Afghan Hound 10 – 12 years 7.5 – 9 years
Airdale Terrier 10 – 13 years 7.5 – 10 years
Akita 10 – 12 years 7.5 – 9 years
Alaskan Malamute 8 – 10 years 6 – 7.5 years
American Eskimo 13 years 9.5 – 10 years
American Foxhound 10 – 12 years 7.5 – 9 years
American Staffordshire Terrier 10 – 12 years 7.5 – 9 years
American Water Spaniel 12 – 15 years 9 – 11 years
Anatolian Sheepdog 12 – 13 years 9 – 10 years
Australian Cattle Dog 12 – 15 years 9 – 11 years
Australian Shepherd 12 – 13 years 9 – 10 years
Australian Terrier 15 years 11 years
Basenji 13 – 14 years 9 – 10.5 years
Basset Hound 10 – 12 years 7.5 – 9 years
Beagle 14 – 15 years 10.5 – 11 years
Bearded Collie 10 – 13 years 7.5 – 10 years
Beauceron 10 – 12 years 7.5 – 9 years
Bedlington Terrier 13 – 15 years 9 – 11 years
Belgian Malinois 12 – 14 years 9 – 10.5 years
Belgian Sheepdog 12 – 14 years 9 – 10.5 years
Belgian Tervuren 12 – 14 years 9 – 10.5 years
Bernese Mountain Dog 8 – 10 years 6 – 7.5 years
Bichon Frise 12 – 15 years 9 – 11 years
Black and Tan Coonhound 10 – 12 years 7.5 – 9 years
Black Russian Terrier 10 – 11 years 7.5 – 8 years
Bloodhound 9 – 11 years 6.5 – 8 years
Border collie 11 – 14 years 8 – 10.5 years
Border Terrier 13 – 15 years 9 – 11 years
Borzoi 10 – 12 years 7.5 – 9 years
Boston Terrier 14 – 16 years 10.5 – 12 years
Bouvier Des Flandres 8 – 10 years 6.5 – 7.5 years
Boxer 9 – 11 years 6.5 – 8 years
Briard 10 – 13 years 7.5 – 10 years
Brittany 12 – 14 years 9 – 10.5 years
Brussels Griffon 12 – 15 years 9 – 11 years
Bull Dog 8 – 10 years 6 – 7.5 years
Bull Terrier 14 – 15 years 10.5 – 11 years
Bullmastiff 8 – 10 years 6 – 7.5 years
Cairn Terrier 14 – 16 years 10.5 – 12 years
Canaan Dog 12 – 15 years 9 – 11 years
Cardigan Welsh Corgi 14 – 16 years 10.5 – 12 years
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel 12 years 9 years
Chesapeake Bay Retriever 12 – 13 years 9 – 10 years
Chihuahua 15 – 18 years 11 – 13 years
Chinese Crested 12 – 16 years 9 – 12 years
Chinese Shar Pei 10 – 12 years 7.5 – 9 years
Chow Chow 9 – 11 years 6.5 – 8 years
Clumber Spaniel 12 – 13 years 9 – 10 years
Cocker Spaniel-American 14 – 16 years 10.5 – 12 years
Cocker Spaniel-English 14 – 16 years 10.5 – 12 years
Collie 12 – 15 years 9 – 11 years
Curly Coated Retriever 8 – 12 years 6 – 9 years
Breed Lifespan Senior Years
Dachshund 15 – 18 years 11 – 13 years
Dalmatian 10 – 13 years 7.5 – 10 years
Dandie Dinmont Terrier 13 – 14 years 9 – 10.5 years
Doberman Pinscher 12 – 15 years 9 – 11 years
English Foxhound 10 years 7.5 – 10.5 years
English Setter 10 – 14 years 7.5 – 10.5 years
English Springer Spaniel 12 – 14 years 9 – 10.5 years
English Toy Spaniel 10 – 12 years 7.5 – 9 years
Field Spaniel 10 – 12 years 7.5 – 9 years
Finnish Spitz 12 – 15 years 9 – 11 years
Flat Coated Retriever 10 – 12 years 7.5 – 9 years
Fox Terrier – Smooth 13 – 14 years 9 – 10.5 years
Fox Terrier – Wirehair 13 – 14 years 9 – 10.5 years
French Bulldog 9 – 11 years 6.5 – 8 years
German Pinscher 12 – 14 years 9 – 10.5 years
German Shepherd Dog 10 – 13 years 7.5 – 10 years
German Shorthaired Pointer 12 – 14 years 9 – 10.5 years
German Wirehaired Pointer 12 – 14 years 9 – 10.5 years
Giant Schnauzer 10 – 12 years 7.5 – 9 years
Glen Imaal Terrier 12 – 15 years 9 – 11 years
Golden Retriever 10 – 13 years 7.5 – 10 years
Gordon Setter 12 – 13 years 9 – 10 years
Great Dane 9 – 10 years 6.5 – 7.5 years
Great Pyrenees 8 – 10 years 6 – 7.5 years
Great Swiss Mountain Dog 10 – 13 years 7.5 – 10 years
Greyhound 10 – 12 years 7.5 – 9 years
Harrier 10 – 12 years 7.5 – 9 years
Havanese 13 – 15 years 9 – 11 years
Ibizan Hound 12 years 9 years
Irish Setter 14 – 16 years 10.5 – 12 years
Irish Terrier 12 – 15 years 9 – 11 years
Irish Water spaniel 10 – 12 years 7.5 – 9 years
Irish Wolfhound 6 – 8 years 4.5 – 6 years
Italian Greyhound 12 – 15 years 9 – 11 years
Japanese Chin 12 – 14 years 9 – 10.5 years
Keeshond 12 – 15 years 9 – 11 years
Kerry Blue Terrier 14 – 16 years 10.5 – 12 years
Komondor 12 years 9 – 11 years
Kuvasz 11 – 14 years 8 – 10.5 years
Labrador Retriever 10 – 13 years 7.5 – 10 years
Lakeland Terrier 12 – 15 years 9 – 11 years
Lhasa Apso 15 years 11 years
Lowchen 10 – 15 years 7.5 – 11 years
Maltese 14 – 16 years 10.5 – 12 years
Manchester Terrier – Standard & Toy 13 – 14 years 9 – 10.5 years
Mastiff 8 – 10 years 6 – 7.5 years
Miniature Bull Terrier 10 – 12 years 7.5 – 9 years
Miniature Pinscher 15 years 11 years
Miniature Schnauzer 14 – 16 years 10.5 – 12 years
Mix Breed – 1-15 pounds 15 – 18 years 11 – 13 years
Mix Breed – 16-40 pounds 11 – 14 years 8 – 10.5 years
Mix Breed – 41-75 pounds 8 – 13 years 6 – 9 years
Mix Breed >75 pounds 7 – 11 years 5 – 8 years
Breed Lifespan Senior Years
Neopolitan Mastiff 9 – 11 years 6.5 – 8 years
Newfoundland 7 – 10 years 5 – 7.5 years
Norfolk Terrier 12 – 15 years 9 – 11 years
Norwegian Elkhound 12 – 15 years 9 – 11 years
Norwich Terrier 12 – 15 years 9 – 11 years
Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever 12 – 14 years 9 – 10.5 years
Old English Sheepdog 10 – 12 years 4.5 – 9 years
Otter Hound 12 years 9 years
Papillon 12 – 15 years 9 – 11 years
Parson Russell Terrier 14 – 16 years 10.5 – 12 years
Pekingese 13 – 15 years 9 – 11 years
Pembroke welsh Corgi 14 – 16 years 10.5 – 12 years
Petit Basset Griffon Vendeen 10 – 14 years 7.5 – 10.5 years
Pharaoh Hound 12 – 14 years 9 – 10.5 years
Plott Hound 12 – 14 years 9 – 10.5 years
Pointer 13 – 14 years 9 – 10.5 years
Polish Lowland Sheepdog 13 – 14 years 9 -10.5 years
Pomeranian 12 – 15 years 9 – 11 years
Poodle Miniature 15 – 18 years 11 – 13 years
Poodle Standard 14 – 16 years 10.5 – 12 years
Poodle Toy 15 – 18 years 11 – 13 years
Portuguese Water Dog 10 – 12 years 7.5 – 9 years
Pug 12 – 14 years 9 – 10.5 years
Puli 12 – 16 years 9 – 12years
Redbone Coonhound 11 – 12 years 8 – 9 years
Rhodesian Ridgeback 8 – 12 years 6 – 9 years
Rottweiler 10 – 12 years 7.5 – 9 years
Saint Bernard 8 – 10 years 6 – 7.5 years
Saluki 13 – 16 years 9 – 12 years
Samoyed 12 – 15 years 9 – 11 years
Schipperke 15 years 11 years
Scottish Deerhound 11 – 12 years 8 – 9 years
Scottish Terrier 10 – 13 years 7.5 – 10 years
Sealyham Terrier 14 years 10.5 years
Shetland Sheepdog 12 – 14 years 9 – 10.5 years
Shiba Inu 12 – 14 years 9 – 10.5 years
Shih Tzu 14 – 16 years 10.5 – 12 years
Siberian husky 10 – 12 years 7.5 – 9 years
Silky Terrier 12 – 15 years 9 – 11 years
Skye Terrier 12 – 14 years 9 – 10.5 years
Soft – Coated Wheaten Terrier 12 – 15 years 9 – 11 years
Spinone Italiano 12 – 14 years 9 – 10.5 years
Staffordshire Bull Terrier 12 – 14 years 9 – 10.5 years
Standard Schnauzer 14 – 16 years 10.5 – 12 years
Sussex Spaniel 12 – 15 years 9 – 11 years
Tibetan Mastiff 9 – 11 years 6.5 – 8 years
Tibetan Spaniel 12 – 15 years 9 – 11 years
Tibetan Terrier 12 – 15 years 9 – 11 years
Toy Fox Terrier 15 years 11 years
Vizsla 14 – 15 years 10.5 – 11 years
Weimaraner 10 – 12 years 7.5 – 9 years
Welsh Springer Spaniel 12 – 15 years 9 – 11 years
Welsh Terrier 10 – 12 years 7.5 – 9 years
West Highland white Terrier 14 – 16 years 10.5 – 12 years
Whippet 12 – 15 years 9 – 11 years
Wirehaired Pointing Griffon 12 – 14 years 9 – 10.5 years
Yorkshire Terrier 14 – 16 years 10.5 – 12 years

At what age is a puppy no longer considered a puppy?


Hi – thanks for your email. When a puppy becomes an adult depends on the size or breed of dog. There are no hard and fast rules.

For many, the 1-year mark is used as a time most dogs were considered to transition from puppies to adults. However, there are also some subtle variations based on breed or size. In general, smaller breeds are often mature more quickly than larger breeds.

Many toy or small breeds may be considered adults at 9 months to 1 year of age. Giant breeds are often not considered adults until about 18 months of age.

Some believe dogs are considered “adult” when they reach 80 to 90% of their adult weight.

A couple articles that might be helpful to you are What to Expect from Your 12-month-old Puppy and What Your 12-month-old Puppy Needs.

Best of luck!

Dr. Debra Primovic – DVM

Diana Ruth Davidson, Chief Pet Officer and Managing Nanny, Westside Dog Nanny

We offer pet services such as:  Pet Sitting,  In-Home Dog Boarding, Dog Walking, Overnights in your home, Doggie Day Care.
310 919 9372

Nipping and Mouthing by Dogs

Anyone who has had a little puppy will relate to this article.  I have a GSD.  I got him at 3 months of age.  I have the puppy play bites to prove it!

Dealing with Canine Nipping and Mouthing

When puppies play with each other, they use their mouths a lot. When they play with you or when they are petted, they usually want to bite or “mouth,” too. This behavior is not frankly aggressive at this stage – though it may be pre-aggressive.

There are two different life stages in which mouthiness can be an issue – before maturity and after maturity. The pre-maturity variety, all too often not taken seriously, and misguidedly interpreted as puppy play, leads to the adult version.

Bear in mind that it is easier to “nip” the problem in the bud at this stage by training youngsters what is and is not acceptable behavior. Even if the behavior has been permitted to flourish into adult maturity, it is still possible to take corrective measures.

Puppy Manners

When pups are raised by their mothers, there comes a time when mom starts to set limits. Demanding youngsters often want to nurse whenever they feel like it, but a good mom starts to rebuff some of their efforts from the tender age of about 3 weeks. Nipping is also addressed, not just by mom but by the pup’s littermates as well. Too hard a nip might result in a physical admonishment from mother, or the nipped littermate may cry out and stop playing. These natural checks and balances help to develop a puppy’s good manners and eventual understanding of their impact of certain behaviors on others.

When a puppy is raised by a well-meaning human caregiver, however, proper limit setting is sometimes neglected. Some new puppy owners do not realize that nipping is not acceptable behavior and that they should discourage it.

However, a certain amount of puppy mouthing is acceptable, even desirable, in the very early stage of a pup’s life. If a pup doesn’t engage in any oral behaviors toward his minders, he can never be taught when enough is enough. To emphasize this point, consider improper rearing of usually inscrutable chow pups as an example of what can go wrong. As cute as they are, chow puppies are often too serious for their own good, don’t play much, and may be reluctant to interact. If not coaxed out of this indifference, the first time they lay teeth on skin may not be until they’re 18 months old and the message they deliver at this stage is likely to be overkill – sometimes with disastrous results.

Instead, permit and even encourage mouthiness, even nipping – up to a point. But when mouthing becomes annoying, or the pup’s needle teeth start to make an unforgettable impression, it’s time to curtail the behavior. The idea is to teach the pup that humans are soft and ouchy. Let’s suppose your puppy nips you for the first time when it is 4 months of age. Having carefully planned out your course of action, you wait until the next time your pup lays his teeth on you, withdraw your hand rapidly, and loudly exclaim “OUCH.” Your interaction with the pup should then cease for a few minutes, just as would happen if the pup were with his littermates. You are teaching “bite inhibition” – an essential early lesson for any family dog.

If things turn out as they should, your pup will adore you, respect you, and understand that, even in extreme situations, humans do not need to be punctured in order to send them an intense signal. Having your dog understand this concept should be part of an overall strategy of limit setting and control. Not engaging in such a program with a would-be dominant dog often leads an unwitting owner down a sorry path of avoidance and subservience – a sorry state of affairs, and sometimes a dangerous one, too.

Adult Dog Nipping and Mouthiness

Adult dogs that exhibit excess grabby oral behaviors do so because they have not been properly schooled as youngsters. They may nip you or grab people by the arm to indicate their wishes or admonitions. Being nipped and grabbed by your dog against your will is a fairly distressing consequence for an owner. The correct way for an owner to deal with such a problem is to immediately implement a “leadership” program in which the dog must learn that all good things in life come from you – and for a price. One common name for such a program is Nothing in Life is Free.

As for adult nipping, avoid circumstances that can lead to nipping while working on the leadership program. If nipping or grabbing occurs do not shout, try to wave your arms around, or pull away. Instead, “turn to stone” and reward the dog when he lets go and stops nipping. A refinement of this approach to management of the mouthy dog is to arm yourself with a clicker and/or delicious food treats and ignore him when he engages in any rude and rough nipping behavior. The clicker is clicked and the food treat is supplied when his nipping ceases. Specifically, 3 seconds after a bout of mouthy behavior stops you should click, say “good dog,” and offer him a food treat. For more frenetic nippers, a head halter with training lead attached can be employed as negative reinforcement to increase the frequency of the desired behavior – letting go when instructed, e.g. Out!

Conclusion for Dog Nipping and Mouthing

Many people don’t realize that attention in any shape or form, positive or negative, may serve as a reward and can reinforce an unwanted behavior. If a dog takes hold of your arm and you start to yell and wave your arms around or push the dog away, you may be perceived as a big squeaky toy that can be animated for amusement when the going gets get slow. If your dog meaningfully grabs your arm with his mouth when you grab him by the collar, and you retreat, the dog’s bad behavior is rewarded, ensuring that the behavior will be repeated in the future. The only way to avoid scenarios like this is to set certain limits and to become your dog’s unequivocal leader.

Written by: Dr. Nicholas Dodman

We offer pet services such as:  Pet Sitting,  In-Home Dog Boarding, Dog Walking, Overnights in Your Home, Doggie Day Care.

Diana Ruth Davidson, Chief Pet Officer and Managing Nanny, Westside Dog Nanny
310 919 9372


Why Puppies Bite and How to Stop It

I just got a 3-month-old German Shepherd Dog.  I now know what “play biting” really is!!  Puppies play with their mouths and don’t realize the harm they may be doing…after all, they are just playing.

Here are some interesting things to consider and learn how to control your puppy.


Puppy biting is completely normal and natural. Dogs and puppies use their mouths to interact with their environment. Puppies are adorable little descendants of wolves, and their teeth are what they use to explore the world around them. Their teeth were once used as weapons, and they must use them to learn what they can and cannot do.

Why Do Puppies Bite When They Play?

Puppies love to play-bite and it’s their way of investigating. When puppies play with one another they can learn about their strengths and what they can do with their teeth and jaws.

Puppies have sharp puppy teeth that they use to learn their abilities and then learn to constrain their force of bite before their dog teeth grow in. Then, as they grow, they will have a safe tool to eat, and solve conflicts if necessary.

When Do Puppies Stop Biting?

Puppies stop biting when they are taught that human skin is sensitive. Bite inhibiting behaviors can be taught by a human or by playing with other dogs. Bite inhibition and bite training is a part of puppy behavioral development. It goes along with house and trick training.

Taken from a Forbes interview, Dr. Ian Dunbar, a veterinarian, animal behaviorist, and dog trainer, explains, “Puppies bite other puppies in play and they learn that their bites hurt because they have needle sharp teeth. So they learn to inhibit the force of their bites before they develop strong jaws.”

By socializing and nursing, your dog can learn bite inhibition too. Puppies will play bite and learn that their teeth hurt by yelping and discontinuing play. When puppies nurse, their mother will teach them bite inhibition by walking away from bitten.

As they grow and learn what their teeth and jaws are capable of, they can learn to control their biting for what they need to do. When puppies are taught that play biting is ok, they will continue to do it. But, if they are taught that any kind of bite hurts and/or is not nice, they will stop.

Dr. Dunbar believes that bite inhibition is one of the most important things a dog can learn. Bite inhibition can be taught in 3 months to a newborn puppy and it can be reinforced throughout their lives.

How to Get Your Puppy to Stop Biting

During socialization, if nipping or biting occurs, playtime often stops. Training your puppy to know that playtime is over if biting happens is a good way to teach bite inhibition. If biting happens, it is best to say, “Ow!” Then, pull your hands away and look away, or even walk away, reinforcing that if biting happens, playtime ends. Read this very useful article by Dr. Nick Dodman on Nipping and Mouthing of Pups.

It is important to understand that as bite inhibition training begins, the first step is to teach them to inhibit the force of their bite. If the puppy is taught to never put his mouth on you, then when it does, he won’t know his strength or that your skin is fragile. As you practice, the puppy will use a smaller amount of pressure each time and it will become less frequent over time.

We offer pet services such as:  Pet Sitting,  In-Home Dog Boarding, Dog Walking, Overnights in Your Home, Doggie Day Care.

Diana Ruth Davidson, Chief Pet Officer and Managing Nanny, Westside Dog Nanny
310 919 9372